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Why is My Face Always Red? Oh the shame of it all...

Updated on January 16, 2015

Yes. These are my Red Cheeks

If I had a dollar - no, even a nickel - for every time someone said to me, "Oh! You've been out in the sun!" or in winter weather "Oh! You've been out in the wind!" I would have a serious collection of nickels.

Maybe enough to pay to get the veins on my face treated with laser (although I've heard mixed reviews on THAT procedure, too!)! :)

But, you know what? I've never been given a cent for any of those comments that I hear over, and over, and over, and over again.

Yes, I have red cheeks. Yes, I'm totally aware of this. No, you don't have to remind me yet AGAIN.

Sometimes, I feel like I should look at the person and say, "Golly... no, I haven't been out in the sun. But I've been wondering: Have you been eating a few TWINKIES lately? Hmm???"

Ok. That wasn't very nice. But I have really tired of the comments. So, in this article I'll talk a little bit about redness on the face - possible causes, and better yet - possible treatments. If you suffer from this as I have, maybe it will help.

At very least, you'll know you're not alone!

Photo credit: Regrettably, my own cheeks - I don't dare show my whole face up close. Maybe later!

Yup. That's me. Poor Santa. Every year...
Yup. That's me. Poor Santa. Every year...

Has my face ALWAYS been this red?

No... I don't think so.

As you can see from my photos here from when I was putting poor Santa through pure and utter hell, I'm fairly fair-skinned. Interestingly, for some reason I have the blonde, straight, fine hair and sensitive skin, but my gorgeous sister got the beautiful curls. My brother's hair is a bit blonde, but not as light as mine, and neither of them react to the sun the way I do. When I was little, I was considered a tow-head. When I would go swimming, I would almost appear bald because my hair was nearly invisible when it was plastered against my head.

But, we are born the way we are, and we can either accept it or bemoan it. I did plenty of bemoaning as a child. :)

In these wonderful snippits from my childhood, it would be understandable that my face would be red. At least here, in what must have been a fit of pique since obviously I wasn't making my Christmas wishes understood.

(Images are from my own collection of my visits to Santa... poor Santa)

Who else receives insensitive comments? - I'm sure I'm not the only one...

Have you ever had anyone make an insensitive comment about you? Whether or not they were unintentional, or if they were insensitive clods or they were being intentionally nasty...

See results

Factors That Have Probably Contributed to my Personal Issues with my Skin

You probably already know some of these...

As a young adult, I did spend a tremendous amount of time outdoors - whether is was when I was working at a Colorado Guest Ranch at about 8,500 feet above sea level in very bright and intense sunshine, or down in Antarctica where the austral summer sun is also quite bright (and evidently the Ozone layer's quite thin).

It wasn't until some years after that I would notice that within seconds of having my arm or leg exposed to the sun in the car that I'd begin feeling hot. Sure enough I was burning pretty easily.

After running a race in New Zealand once, I got a touch of heat stroke and felt my face turn almost purple. It also pretty much was the last time I ran...

Within a few years, I started hearing the comments.

(Image is my own - this is me, taken at the Geographic South Pole - circa 1984 or 1985. Posing with my old "sheep puppet" who went everywhere with me)

I Love Love LOVE ZENMED! - It is difficult for me to find anything I don't like about this product

I have to let you know what I'm doing! I made a few videos and pictures to document my experience with ZENMED's Skin Support System (this is their recommended Rosacea product). You can see the videos below.

First of all, let me just begin by telling you that I really like this particular company. I have dealt directly with them, and they have been absolutely 100% supportive, honest, and professional with me. I wasn't embarrassed to go into my own experience - they really are great folks.

Now, they make a bunch of products - but the only one I am talking about today is the Skin Support System - you are free to check out their other products as well. My own experience thus far is that this company is "quality" all the way.

And with a motto like "Creating Products with Conscience," who doesn't love that? :)

ZENMED Skin Support System for Dry Skin Anti-Redness Rosacea Treatment
ZENMED Skin Support System for Dry Skin Anti-Redness Rosacea Treatment

First of all - again - I share my videos with you below... the package arrived as though it were gold. It was perfectly packaged. I felt that the price was fair - and it should last for 6 - 8 weeks. What is also important to me is that it is cruelty free. And, for those who are vegan, they will be pleased to know that the products are also vegan. And another huge plus for me is that I'm not allergic to ANY of the ingredients! YAY! :) If one of you decide to try this out, PLEASE let me know what you think!

 
WHY is my face always red!?!?
WHY is my face always red!?!?

I DESPISE hearing comments about my face

It very nearly had turned me into a hermit

"Do you have rosacea?" That is probably the most common question I get asked (a short 2nd to "Have you been out in the sun?").

Some years ago, I went to a doctor and asked about this, and she was of the opinion that it was NOT rosacea, although is does look that way.

TODAY'S discussion about this condition is a little different from several years ago. There is more information online these days, and I've spent a considerable amount of time trying to narrow down what went wrong with my skin.

One thing that happens to me on a regular basis, and not just to my face, but to my arms and legs, is that when we're driving somewhere, and my side of the car happens to be in the sun, my skin burns within a few minutes. I mean, an actual sunburn from the sun coming through the windows. I can feel it, and it happens fast. I sometimes hold a tissue or piece of paper up to the window to deflect the sun, but that's not always feasible, especially if I happen to be the one driving and the sun is coming in on the driver's side. It's just one of those things...

Things had gotten to a point where I truly despised going to the store (which seems to be where most comments occur). I began doing my food shopping early in the morning so that I would not run into a lot of people. I then pretty much stayed home.

Sometimes, when accompanying my husband to yard sales (where he gets a lot of inventory for his eBay business), people at the yard sale will make comments. It's almost like they can't help themselves. I don't get it... On the hottest and sunniest days, I won't even get out of the car, because I really want to cry (or scream - which wouldn't be at all lady-like).

However, things are looking up!

So let's talk a little bit more about this

What exactly IS this embarrassing condition?

Well, it should be obvious by now that this is embarrassing to me, at least. And even though my ol' doctor was convinced I did NOT have rosacea, I remain unconvinced.

Sure, I'd like to believe that I just walk around with a lovely little blush that means I don't need to use powdered blush, but it's not the case.

After all, I do fit the criteria. I'm definitely of northern European ancestry (one of the risk factors), and as you can see I'm very fair skinned. Light colored eyes is another factor (Check that one, too!)

The National Library of Medicine describes rosacea as a chronic (meaning it's not going away) facial skin condition (at least they don't call it an illness!). They mention the inflamed blood vessels and something called "pilosebaceous units" (Yeah, I had to look up "pilosebaceous units" too...anyway, translate: you can see the veins and capillaries and stuff on my skin).

I noticed that my dad has some visible capillaries on his skin, and even though his hair doesn't appear as it did when he was younger, he is a red head. And, I distinctly recall my dad getting a horrible case of sunburn at the shore one year - he NEVER sat on the beach unless he was under an umbrella. Nonetheless, I do recall some weird yellow gooky medication that he had to put on his shoulders after he blistered one summer. (As an aside, my dad does NOT like the beach at all... He suffered on our account, because the rest of the family loved our annual Jersey Shore vacations!)

While some people get little pimples along with their condition, I don't suffer so much from that as others.

It's all so individual. It's said that somewhere between 10 and 20 MILLION people suffer from this in the US alone.

Now, here's the thing. I'm well aware that there are medications that doctors can prescribe for this.

I'm not interested in medications. Really... I just don't like them. So, for me, my quest is to find a natural solution.

Here is a series of videos that I created about my personal situation - These are all my own videos, my experiences!

Here are my very first videos about ZenMed and the products. The first video is only about 2 minutes, and you'll see how responsive the folks at ZenMed are... My 2nd video is about WHAT I received in my kit. The 3rd video is my first experience, my ZenMed Rosacea Reviews at the 2-week mark!

(As an update in November 2013, I haven't made any new videos lately, because my skin seems to have stabilized a bit - my capillaries are a little lighter; however, the darker ones are still pretty prominent and stand out more than I would like. But, my skin is MUCH softer and "calmer," and I do not react at ALL to the product. I have come to really like it.)

This is the FIRST video I made about ZenMed! When I actually received the package!

Here, I show you what I ordered, and what I received.

PROGRESS!! Here is my 2-week review! My skin is a bit smoother now. Still quite red, but improved. Have a look!

Empty Alcohol Bottles in a Trash Can (photo by me, KathyT)
Empty Alcohol Bottles in a Trash Can (photo by me, KathyT)

Some Typical Triggers for any Redness on the Face

At least we know what to avoid...

Deny it all you want, but there are just SOME THINGS that are known triggers for rosacea - or, if you don't want to call it that, "ruddy cheeks," "redness on face," or "sensitive flushing..."

Here are mine - and (not so) coincidentally, the experts agree:

Alcohol (it doesn't matter how little I drink - my face is ALWAYS red after drinking - and I've been cutting back considerably, so that's a good thing). In some cases, I know I have an outright allergy to certain wines - I cannot TOUCH a glass of anything made by YellowTail brand - I go BEYOND redness in my face - I go straight into raised hives.

Spicy Foods. And this is difficult, because I LOVE spicy foods. But I've been cutting back on that too...

Exercise. I'm not going to stop exercising. Sorry. However, I don't tend to exercise hard ENOUGH! :)

Sun. Within seconds, my skin turns red (not just my face either, as you you may have read above). But I'm not going to avoid sunshine either. I DO avoid high-noon types of sun, and I do wear hats. Let's not get into the sunscreen debate... I'm sensitive to almost all of them.

Wind. If I'm out in the wind for more than a few minutes, my cheeks get wind-burned. My most fun solution to that is to leave the cold and bitter north country for warmer climes in the winter. I was walking up my road during a recent cold November day. Normally, the "breeze" on my road always feels so pleasant during the summer months. But, in winter, it's just a biting, howling, bitterly cold wind, and it sucks the fun right out of my walks. Florida for the winter. It's for my health. :)

(Image is mine - clever, huh? All it took was some empty wine bottles, a waste-basket and a camera. Voila!)

Some Topical Treatments For Facial Redness

While I happen to be a bit partial to a very specific brand, in the interest of fairness and the fact that everyone's skin and needs are different, I'm adding a couple other creams/treatments in this section of the page that look promising and also receive some decent feedback. I can only compare the comments to how they might relate to me, but I chose some that I would be willing to try myself, and may do so once my particular "stash" of product runs out. I do like to use and report on different products, so if I do, I'll add my thoughts here.

Keep in mind that you will want to think about your OWN skin. For example, if your skin is prone to more acne-type of breakouts or is oily, your needs will be different from mine, because my skin gets overly dry and is very sensitive to a lot of different ingredients - even the most "natural" ones.

Eucerin Sensitive Skin Redness Relief Soothing Night Creme 1.7 Ounce
Eucerin Sensitive Skin Redness Relief Soothing Night Creme 1.7 Ounce

I haven't tried this particular Eucerin product. I HAVE used Eucerin creams in the past for other purposes, and it is typically a very thick formulation and indeed has been soothing on my skin after sunburn. But again, I haven't used the Redness Relief Night Crème. Since Eucerin is a trusted brand name, I can't see where it would hurt to give it a try, especially since the price is right and a relatively inexpensive one to try. I'd like to know if you do try it, and what you think.

 
TriDerma Facial Redness Repair 2.2oz.
TriDerma Facial Redness Repair 2.2oz.

By all accounts, this one is NON-GREASY, which is a HUGE factor for me. My pores clog up the second you even look at them, so this one would be one to consider if this is a factor for you. It contains a number of ingredients that I like, such as arnica, comfrey, and aloe - and it does look like just a "little dab will do ya."

 
Skin Doctors Capillary Clear Broken Capillary Solution 1.7 fl oz (50 ml)
Skin Doctors Capillary Clear Broken Capillary Solution 1.7 fl oz (50 ml)

There aren't a ton of reviews on this yet; however, other than one nay-sayer who gave it only 1 star says the bottle was open and the cream was spilled. Hardly a reason (in my opinion) to completely diss a product, but there's one in every bunch. Wasn't even a verified purchase. Others are indicating that it seems to be helping. Might be worth a shot.

 

Here's an ABC News segment about Rosacea

Again, I'm not really into standard medication to treat stuff - but Dr. Day also does talk about the OCCULAR (eye) form of rosacea - and this might be an exception to my "prescription medication" aversion... If it hit my eyes, I'd probably get right to the eye doctor in that case - and if that were the case, I'd definitely suggest that you do as well... Anyway, here is a standard medical overview of this condition...

A bit about my status as an affiliate (Affiliate Disclosure)

Hi folks! I, Kathy Tremblay (yes, that would be ME) earn affiliate commissions when someone makes a purchase through one of my links. Thank you so much for reading and visiting my pages. And thank you, also, if you should decide to make a purchase as a result of what I've put out there for you! :)

Thanks for stopping by. You don't need to be a member here on Squidoo to leave me a comment. I'd love to hear from you!

So... How did I do? Did I keep this embarrassing condition of mine lighthearted enough? - Ahhh... See? I already feel the redness reducing...

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    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Kathy I can understand your feelings. For some time, I thought I had Rosacea too, because I had red cheeks and nose, and occasional breaking out with a raised rash. Mine turned out not to be Rosacea, but the packaged facial cloths I was using. Now that I'm no longer using those, my problem has stopped. But I know the feeling I went through for several months, and believe me I do know it's no fun! I'm glad you've found something that works for you, and hoping to see a follow-up here or in another lens at a later time. Well told story!

    • Frischy profile image

      Frischy 4 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      I have rosacea and I empathize with your situation. It can be hard to find a treatment, because not everything works for everyone. Best of luck with your plan! I hope it works well for you!

    • Richard-H profile image

      Richard 4 years ago from Surrey, United Kingdom

      I haven't suffered from rosacea, but it will be very interesting to learn of your progress to alleviate it.

    • retta719 profile image

      Loretta 4 years ago from United States

      Nothing to be embarrassed about at all. Rosacea is a pretty common. While I don't have Rosacea myself, I can empathize with you. When I had hives on my face all the time people always assumed I had done something, been outside, or (more commonly) they thought I was deathly contagiously ill.... *sigh* people can be seriously rude when they're afraid or don't understand a situation very well.

    • whiteskyline lm profile image

      whiteskyline lm 4 years ago

      I love your sense of humor about it Kathy :) Very well put together lens, and I'll be interested what helps, as I'm sure something(s) will.

    • Adventuretravels profile image

      Giovanna Sanguinetti 4 years ago from London UK

      Hi Kathy a very interesting lens. My wife has Rosacea and knows about the triggers, she has been battling with it ever since the birth of our son. I had no idea that there was such a thing as occular roascea, of the kind Dr Day talks about it in the video above. I have suffered from red eyes all my life but I have never thought to get them looked at by a specialist. Think Ill do this ASAP. Thanks for this lens. I'll let you know what happens, and my wife will be following your progress with Zenmed.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I used to have this when I was younger but it just disappeared.

    • writerkath profile image
      Author

      writerkath 4 years ago

      @delia-delia: That is really kind of you! Thank you so much!! XOXO

    • RaintreeAnnie profile image

      RaintreeAnnie 4 years ago from UK

      I think you have a fantastic attitude, sense of humour and perspective. Having gained a skin condition(which I now know is allergies) I can empathise with what you are saying here. I wish you all the best in finding your solution and will be interested in your progress. Hugs.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 4 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Wow, you do have a great attitude. As you talked in the video I could see you becoming less red by the minute! ;o) I too have very fair skin and turn bright red from drinking alcohol no matter how little. We're just a couple of little gin blossom girls!

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 4 years ago

      Nice of you to tackle this problem Kathy. You video is really great and personally I think you are handling the condition well and can't see that much wrong with your face. I know my face reddens if I am over hot or have any alcohol, which I have not done for years. Red face does not suit me, or so I think. Hugs.

    • Erin Mellor profile image

      Erin Mellor 4 years ago from Europe

      I really don't understand why people think it's OK to make personal comments. I do like your idea of turning them around and replying with an equally personal remark. It's not like people don't know they're a little red/pale/flaky or whatever.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I have a red face all the time, I don't just have to be embarrassed or hot. Instead it occurs all year round 24/7. I have told my parents about rosacea and they think I haven't got it. My friends take the mickey out of saying "go away tomato face etc..." I have got to the stage where I have had enough, I don't know what to do? Do you reckon it will disappear as I get older. (I am 14 years old).

    • hazeltos profile image

      Susan Hazelton 4 years ago from Summerfield, Florida

      You did a wonderful job. Lighthearted and informative.

    • MJ Martin profile image

      MJ Martin aka Ruby H Rose 4 years ago from Washington State

      Yeah, when I don't put tinted sunblock all over my face, people assume I have problems with my rosy red cheeks and face. Your attitude about it all is uplifting and sincere. Thank you for that. I too try to stay away from most medications and try to drink more water.

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 4 years ago

      Worse than red skin is skin cancer. Yuck. So far, I've had a dime-sized area of skin removed from the tip of my nose. Double Yuck. Now I wear a hat, even when I'm on Squidoo.

    • Frischy profile image

      Frischy 4 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      I have rosacea too. I used the Eucerin Redness Relief cream for a few years. It did help, but was not strong enough for my needs. I went to a dermatologist and got my problem cleared up in a few visits. Now I only use the medicine if I have a flare, and usually it goes away after a day or two. I hope you find something that works well for you because it makes such a difference!

    • Adventuretravels profile image

      Giovanna Sanguinetti 3 years ago from London UK

      I'm keeping an eye on your progress because I have it too. I love your lens. I Wish you luck.

    • writerkath profile image
      Author

      writerkath 3 years ago

      @Adventuretravels: Thanks! I need to do another video update. My skin has definitely toned down considerably, and I think the capillaries are also a little less noticeable. One thing I remembered lately is that where the capillaries are in my lower cheeks is EXACTLY where my dad has some of the same. It never even occurred to me... But also, I've noticed my skin is quite a bit softer, and...drum roll... no one has mentioned my "red skin" lately! Which is something new! So there is hope!

    • shay-marie profile image

      Shay Marie 3 years ago from Southern California

      Great article here. I suffer from adult acne an possibly some other skin condition (Rosacea maybe? I haven't had it diagnosed) so I feel your pain! You should definitely check out Aztec Healing Clay - it works for a range of skin problems and it's about as natural as it gets!

    • profile image

      louise-evans 3 years ago

      Excellent lens, Rosacea has been the bane of my life since I was diagnosed with it 2008, gone are the friday night drinks after work with friends because alcohol is my worst trigger no matter what kind or brand, looking like I have just been sand blasted every time I had a drink was kinda off putting, though I have found some relief from Salcura's Derma Spray for sensitive skin, it really helps with the redness and is small enough to carry round with you. You can see a review of it at my site Natural Skin Care

    • profile image

      AngryBaker 3 years ago

      Ugh... I've been dealing with this problem... going to give the treatment you suggested a try. There is no way I can avoid sun, wind, exercise or even alcohol.

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 3 years ago

      I found that using a corticosteroid spray (for my nasal allergies) caused me some redness around my nose. I started to wean myself off of it and dab apple cider vinegar on the area. Amazingly, it seemed to work. I avoid creams and moisturizers with certain ingredients. I only use Neutrogena products (and sunscreen - even in winter).

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 3 years ago

      Just want to tell you, good luck, hope everything will be fine and don't listen to other when they tell you something bad about this.

    • profile image

      Donna Cook 3 years ago

      I have a severe case of rosacea. When skiing, my entire face turns beet red and people stop me. My dermatologist recommended Aqua Glycolic Facial Cleanser which helps. I tried the Aqua Glycolic Face Cream which doesn't do much on my skin. I will try the Eucerin night cream next.

    • profile image

      AlleyCatLane 3 years ago

      Excellent article! I read every word and watched all the videos - a first for me! I have rosacea also, especially rosy cheeks. My face turns even redder when I drink alcohol, get hot, exercise, etc. It's not as severe as some of the people shown in the videos thank goodness, but still annoying. I think I will try the product line you recommended. Thanks for sharing this information.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 3 years ago from Central Florida

      I think my husband has this though not as extreme as yours.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 3 years ago from Colorado

      I appreciate your willingness to share this journey. Very well presented and documented. Too bad there isn't a product that makes insensitivity go away.

    • melodyfit profile image

      melody 3 years ago from new york

      Thanks for sharing your journey with rosacea. During the winter is when I experience symptoms of rosacea the most. It is not severe but it surely is annoying. I have managed it in a few ways though and I hardly ever get it anymore. I have switched from regular soap to Cetaphil facial cleanser and body soap as regular soap contains irritants that were making my face red and blotchy. I also do not use very hot water in the shower anymore. I found that mixing up apple cider vinegar, water, and Lysine which is an amino acid and applying it on my skin as a toner has reduced any redness or blotchiness. Even though ACV is an acid it helps balance the pH levels in our body. I actually stopped using that as now I just take two 500mg Lysine capsules 3 times a day which has gotten rid of any symptoms.

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 2 years ago from Seattle, WA

      I'm glad that you've found a product that seems to help a bit with your condition. I'm sure there are many that will benefit from your information here.

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